In a country like South Africa, with our multicultural nation, family trees can be quite colourful. We can unravel our lineage in libraries and online genealogy sites, which are more populated than ever before, and we can now also opt to do DNA testing to see where in the world these ancestors hailed from.
That's exactly what African American couple Ike and Natalee Anderson did, and they were excited to find that their roots could be traced to 32 nations! So they sold their car and some other belongings they didn't desperately need, and took their three children on an around-the-world pilgrimage.
DNA tests can trace your paternal line (your dad's dad's dad, etc), and your maternal ancestry (your mom's mom's mom...). The Y-chromosome test is available to men (women don't have a Y chromosome) to find their original "clan", and a mitochondrial DNA test can trace anyone's mother's origins. These tests ignore the rich tapestry of your DNA that includes spouses, so for a fuller analysis you can get a Biogeographic Ancestry (BGA) test done.
Wits University offers DNA testing with their #FindMyLineage project, and testing is also available at private clinics or online, but the cost can be prohibitive: anything from R2000 and up.
But if you're like the Andersons and you'd love to step on the soil of your fore bearers, breathe in the air and greet the people, then a DNA test could be your next step.
- Who is your first cousin twice removed? We unpack family relations
- The family tree, by Tracy Engelbrecht
- 1000s of baby names
- Family travel
Have you done DNA testing for your ancestry? Were there any surprises in your results? Or would you prefer not to know? Send your stories and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may publish them. Let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous!